Bond, James: Roger Moore Played 007 in 7 Bond Pictures

Live and Let Die (1973)

Owing to his commitment to several TV shows, in particular The Saint, Roger Moore was unavailable for the James Bond films for a considerable time.

He participated in The Saint as actor, producer, and director, and he also became involved in developing the series The Persuaders!.

In 1964, he made a guest appearance as James Bond in the comedy series Mainly Millicent.

Moore stated in his 2008 autobiography “My Word Is My Bond” that he had neither been approached to play the character in Dr. No, nor did he feel that he had ever been considered. Only after Sean Connery had declared in 1966 that he would not play Bond any longer did Moore become aware that he might be a contender.

After George Lazenby was cast in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Connery was enticed back to the role of Bond again for Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Moore did not consider the possibility until it seemed clear that Connery had stepped down as Bond for good.

Moore was approached, and he accepted producer Albert Broccoli’s offer in August 1972.

In his autobiography, Moore writes that he had to cut his hair and lose weight for the role, changes that he resented.

  • Moore then made Gold (1974), based on a novel by Wilbur Smith for producer Michael Klinger and director Peter R. Hunt, who had an editing role in the first five Bond films and directed On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

He was paid $200,000 plus a percentage of the profits.

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

Moore made his second Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun, which was a hit, though less successful than Live and Let Die.

It featured Christopher Lee as the main antagonist, and actors Britt Ekland, Herve Villechaize, and Maud Adams.

He then made a comedy That Lucky Touch (1975) which was a box office disaster.

Moore made an Italian-shot action film Street People (1976), then went back to South Africa for another Klinger-Hunt movie from a Wilbur Smith novel, Shout at the Devil (1976), which was successful in Britain.

The cast included Lee Marvin, Ian Holm, and Barbara Parkins.

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

In 1977, Moore returned for a third outing as Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me, which was a massive box-office success. It also starred Barbara Bach, and Richard Kiel in his first appearance as the villain, Jaws.

He returned to South Africa for a third action movie shot there, The Wild Geese (1978), produced by Euan Lloyd and directed by Andrew V. McLaglen. It was a sizeable hit in Britain and Europe but, like Shout at the Devil, less so in the US. The cast featured Richard Burton, who had top billing, and Richard Harris.

Moore played the lead in Escape to Athena (1979) partly financed by Lew Grade. It was a heist adventure set in war-time Greece, and stars Telly Savalas and David Niven, and features mostly American character actors, including Elliott Gould, Stefanie Powers, Richard Roundtree, Sonny Bono, and Italian actress Claudia Cardinale.

Roger Moore (top billing) plays a charming former Austrian antiquities dealer turned crooked camp commandant, asked to guard Greek antiquities desired by the Third Reich, and also guard the collection of archaeologists who are being forced to work to find and recover these objects, but he has other plans for the treasure he guards and for the people under his watch.

Moonraker (1979)

With the success of his fourth outing as Bond, Moonraker (1979), Moore followed it with an action film North Sea Hijack (1980) where Moore played a very un-Bond-like hero, opposite Anthony Perkins. The film was a box-office disappointment.

Better received was The Sea Wolves (1980), another World War Two adventure which reunited many of the crew from The Wild Geese including Euan Lloyd and McLaglen. It was based on the true story of a March 1943 event in British India and Portuguese Goa, in which a group of retired members of the Calcutta Light Horse, coloneled by David Niven’s character, assist regular British Army operatives, played by Moore and Gregory Peck, in destroying German ships in neutral Mormugao harbor, all the time surrounded by German spies and Indian nationalist intrigue. Trevor Howard, Patrick Macnee, and Barbara Kellerman also co-star, with a who’s who lineup of British character actors.

Moore was in two all-star comedies: Sunday Lovers (1980), which flopped at the box office, and The Cannonball Run (1981), which was a hit. The latter featured an ensemble cast, including Jackie Chan, Burt Reynolds, Dean Martin, Dom DeLuise, Sammy Davis Jr, and Farrah Fawcett.

For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Moore returned for his fifth outing as Bond in For Your Eyes Only (1981).

Octopussy (1983)

Moore expressed a desire to leave the Bond role, and other actors were screen tested including James Brolin, but Moore was eventually enticed back for Octopussy (1983).

The circumstances around Octopussy’s release were unusual in that another James Bond film was being released in the same year.

The Non-Eon production Never Say Never Again which featured his predecessor Sean Connery returning to the role of Bond, although not canon to his previous Eon Bond films. This led to the media dubbing the one-time situation the “Battle of the Bonds.”

He made a cameo as Chief Inspector Clouseau, posing as a famous movie star, in Curse of the Pink Panther (1983) (for which he was credited as “Turk Thrust II”).

Then he tried a thriller The Naked Face (1984), written and directed by Bryan Forbes.

A View to a Kill (1985)

In 1985, Moore starred in his final Bond film, A View to a Kill. Moore was the oldest actor to have played Bond – he was 45 in Live and Let Die, and 58 when he announced his retirement on December 3, 1985, having played the part for over 12 years.

With 7 films, Moore holds the record for playing Bond the most times in the Eon series but is tied with Sean Connery in number of times playing the character when counting Connery’s non-Eon appearance in Never Say Never Again (1983).

Moore’s Bond was different from the version created by Ian Fleming.  Writers such as George MacDonald Fraser provided scenarios in which Moore was cast as a seasoned, debonair playboy who would always have a trick or gadget in stock when needed. This was designed to serve the contemporary taste of the 1970s.

Moore’s version of Bond was also known for his sense of humor and witty one- liners as Moore himself said, “My personality is different from previous Bonds. I’m not that cold-blooded-killer type. Which is why I play it mostly for laughs.”

In 1987, he hosted Happy Anniversary 007: 25 Years of James Bond.